Review Summary
DirecTV NOW is a solid alternative to DirecTV's satellite service. DirecTV satellite TV plans are still the best option for NFL fans and large households, but DirecTV NOW can be a good deal for those of us looking to add basic sports and premium channels to a Roku setup.

DirecTV Now is the company’s answer to the cord cutting craze, offering the ability to stream the majority of DirecTV’s content over the internet in 1080p resolution without any additional equipment — all for one low monthly price. 4K video is promised in the near future. It is one of the most popular services to view on a Roku.

DirecTV is one of the premier television providers nationwide, and is widely known for their wide selection of channels available at affordable prices.

DirecTV Now vs DirecTV Satellite: What’s The Difference?

DirecTV Now is a separate service from DirecTV’s traditional satellite service, and while there are many similarities in what they have to offer, there are some key differences to keep in mind when shopping for television service. Take a look at the table below for a closer look at what separates each service from the other in order to make sure DirecTV Now is the right choice for you.

Keep in mind that the pricing is an estimate used for comparison, and doesn’t include all additional taxes or fees.

DirecTVDirecTV Now
PriceBetween $35 and $110Between $35 – $70
HardwareGenie Box, Satellite DishCompatible Device (Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku)
ProsMore channels, technician installation, better DVRLess Expensive, Less Equipment, No Contract
ConsMore expensive, Contract RequiredFewer Channels, requires strong internet connection

The biggest difference between DirecTV NOW and DirecTV Satellite is that with NOW, you don’t have to have a dish on the roof, and you don’t have to have a physical DVR.

As of May 2018, DirecTV NOW includes a free cloud DVR service with all DirecTV NOW plans. This means you can record and store content without a physical DVR, and stream that content later whenever you like. They will be adding paid options with more storage and features later in summer 2018, but for now you get:

  • 20 hours of recording
  • Store video up to one month
  • Skip commercials and pause/play at home and on mobile

How Is DirecTV NOW Different From Other Streaming Services?

For those who haven’t heard of the service, it may be difficult to see the difference of DirecTV NOW when compared to other standalone services like a simple Netflix subscription or a competitor such as SlingTV.

DirecTV NOW provides access to some live television content, which sets it apart from services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a basic Hulu subscription. For many people, having access to shows as they air is a priority, and these services don’t have access to live sports — a major problem for many traditional TV customers.

SlingTV offers a similar, less expensive service, but they don’t offer quite the same amount of channels with their base packages. While DirecTV NOW includes the majority of their lineup through the various tiers ranging from $35 to $75, SlingTV’s top plan maxes out at 50 channels. This may seem like a huge disparity, but Sling offers “Extras” that allow you to customize your experience with competitively priced selections of themed channels.

If you’re looking for a more à la carte service, SlingTV may offer you more customizability. If you’re looking for a service that straddles the line between streaming and traditional TV, however, DirecTV NOW is the superior option.

Will DirecTV Use All Of My Mobile Data?

Mobile TV device with AT&T.
One of the core benefits of DirecTV NOW is that AT&T mobile customers can stream mobile TV without affecting their data limits.

A large part of the appeal of DirecTV Now, when compared to traditional cable or satellite service, is the ability to watch TV while on the go. However, as it takes a large amount of data to transmit video content, many users will find the service eating up their allowances while on the go. For AT&T users, however, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Through the AT&T Mobile Viewing program, content streamed over the DirecTV Now app won’t eat into your data allowance. As DirecTV is owned by AT&T, this is a step to incentivize customers to use both the company’s cellular and TV service.

If you’re not an AT&T Mobile customer, you may want to stick to watching your favorite shows on WiFi. Otherwise, feel free to binge watch your favorite new show whenever you please and wherever you are — just keep in mind that NFL games aren’t available on your mobile device, regardless of whether you’re using data or on a WiFi connection.

DirecTV Channel Lineup

The channels in each package will likely be the determining factor as to which plan is right for you. Here’s a snapshot of the lineup in each of DirecTV NOW’s four packages to help give you a better sense of what’s included in each tier.

Live a Little ($35/mo)

A&E, ABC, AMC, Animal Planet, Audience, AXStv, BabyFirst, BBC America, BET, Bloomberg Television, Bavo, CBS, C-SPAN, C-SPAN2, Cartoon Network, CMT,
CNN, Comedy Central, The CW, Discovery, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, Fox, Fox Business, Fox News, Fox Sports, Free Form, FX, FXX, Globovision, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, history, HLN, ID, Lifetime, MSNBC, MTV, MTV2, National Geographic, NBC, NBC Sports, Nick Jr. Nick, OAN, Reelz, RFD TV, Spike, Syfy, TBS, TCM, TeenNick, Telemundo, TLC, TNT, TruTV, TV Land, Univision, USA, Velocity, VH1, Viceland, WE tv, WeatherNation.

Just Right ($50/mo)

Everything on the “Live a Little” package plus AWE, Big Ten Network,, Cooking Channel, ESPN News, ESPN U, Fuse, Fusion, GSN, IFC, Jusic Central, MLB Network, nicktoons, Science, ESPN SEC Network, Sundance TV, Tennis Channel, Travel Channel, ONE, UniMAS, The Weather Channel. Does not include Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Go Big ($60/mo)

Everything on the “Just Right” package, plus American Heroes Channel, BBC World News, CBS Sports, Centric, CNBC World, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY Network, FM, FS2, FXM, Golf, Logo, MTV Classic, Nat Geo Wild, NBA TV, NHL, Olympic Channel, Revolt, Universal Kids, and Universo.

Gotta Have It ($70/mo)

Everything on the “Go Big” package, plus Boomerang, Chiller, El Rey, StarzEncore Action, StarzEncore Black, Starz East, StarzEncore Family, StarzEncore Classic, StarzEncore West, StarzEncore Suspense, StarzEncore Westerns, and Univision Deportes.

While DirecTV Now can get rather expensive in higher service tiers, it’s clear from the channel lineup that the majority of channels that the average viewer might watch are included in the $35 tier. However, those looking for more options — such as sports fans — may need to buy a higher tier plan.

DirecTV Now Sports

One of the primary concerns with many people cutting the cord is whether or not they’ll be able to retain access to their favorite live sports. A lot of traditional cable and satellite customers aren’t willing to make the switch in fear of missing out on the latest game, but DirecTV Now does offer some sports options that may enable you to ditch the contract and save a little more money each month. Availability of the various networks vary based on your plan, so we’ve included a table that outlines the availability.

Live A Little ($35/mo)Just Right ($50/mo)Go Big
Gotta Have It ($70/mo)
CBS Sports Network
Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
Golf Channel
MLB Network
NHL Network
Olympic Channel
Sportsman Channel
Tennis Channel
Univision Deportes Network
USA Network

Can I Watch NFL Games On DirecTV Now?

NFL New Orleans Saints football team playing,
NFL fans should spend a few extra dollars to get dedicated satellite service from DirecTV, which usually includes NFL Sunday Ticket for free. Image via Nikon D3s/Max Pixel

One of the main attractions of traditional DirecTV service is NFL Sunday Ticket. Unfortunately, this service isn’t available as a premium option for DirecTV Now at this point in time. The DirecTV support website does say that you may be able to subscribe to the service on its own, however, instructing interested parties to visit the NFL Sunday Ticket website for more information.

Essentially, NFL Sunday Ticket is available as a standalone option for customers in the following living situations:

  • Residents of multi-dwelling units such as apartments and condos that are not serviced by DirecTV satellite service
  • Residents in select areas within metropolitan cities
  • Students currently enrolled in a U.S. college or university
  • Residents who live in a house that is unable to receive DirecTV satellite service due to housing restrictions or satellite line of sight obstructions.

With that said, DirecTV Now does include a number of channels that often air live games. While you won’t have access to the extra features that NFL Sunday Ticket offers, you’ll be able to watch nationally televised games on the networks that they would have been broadcast on should you have had traditional Cable. Rest assured, with channels in the DirecTV Now packages including CBS, ABC, FOX, and NBC, you should be able to catch the Superbowl with no issues.

Just as with traditional TV service, the availability of many games will vary based on your regional location due to Sports Blackout Rules. Additionally, no NFL games can be watched on mobile devices using DirecTV Now due to regulations from the league.

How Can I Get The Best Deal On NFL Sunday Ticket?

Basically, if you want NFL Sunday Ticket, the only way to get it is by signing up for DirecTV’s satellite service at 844-298-9664.

Despite the higher expense of a traditional DirecTV service, you may be able to save money when compared to buying NFL Sunday Ticket as a standalone option if you’re willing to haggle with the company for a better deal. Just like the majority of TV providers, DirecTV is scrambling to keep as many satellite customers as possible. If your discount for NFL Sunday Ticket has expired, you may be able to get a better deal just by picking up the phone and asking for it.

DirecTV does have some downsides when compared to DirecTV Now, such as the required contracts, but for dedicated sports fans it may be worth the extra costs.

Conclusion of this DirecTV NOW Review: it’s a compromise, but can work well if combined with other streaming services on a Roku

Cutting the cord doesn’t necessarily mean you need to ditch your live TV. Cable providers and Satellite companies such as DirecTV are starting to cater to cord cutters with streamed content over the internet, and DirecTV Now is a viable alternative to a traditional television plan. With a wide selection of channels, competitive pricing, and no contract, it’s a simple way to save money and hassle while retaining the shows and sports you love.


  • Image of Dave Dayanan
    Dave Dayanan says

    Thanks for all the information.


    1. Image of Alex
      Alex says

      Marcovich, what do you think, where to go? satellite or streaming device?


      1. Image of Adi Marcovich
        Adi Marcovich says

        Short version: Satellite if you can do a two-year contract. Streaming if you rarely watch TV or move frequently. Cheers!


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